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Smart Bird Feeding

May 8, 2015

New research reveals that careless bird feeding can harm native species.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Greg Lilly flickr CC BY-NC 2.0

(Greg Lilly/flickr/Creative Commons License BY-NC 2.0)

Being smart about bird feeding. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Attracting songbirds to your property with birdfeeders is a great way to connect with nature. But the practice can have downsides: University of Auckland ecologist Josie Galbraithe reports in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on an extensive survey of birdfeeding in New Zealand that revealed benefits for some species more than others.

JOSIE GALBRAITHE (University of Auckland):

We found that actually those non-native species, the introduced birds, they did much better than our native birds.

HIRSHON:

Part of the problem was home owners often used bread and other non-optimal foods. Galbraithe suggests choosing bird food suited to local birds.

GALBRAITHE:

And the other thing as well is thinking about planting a garden that’s suitable for their native birds, so they can still watch them and enjoy them, but just creating a habitat that’s suitable for those native birds that they want.

HIRSHON:

I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.